When Mahiru agreed to cook at Amane’s house, she raised the following conditions.
・Amane was to pay for half the ingredients, along with labor costs.
・If they could not eat together, one was to notify the other a day in advance.
・Both of them would have equal responsibility buying ingredients and cleaning up.
The labor costs in the first condition was suggested by Amane, who was sorry about taking advantage of Mahiru’s time. The latter compromised on this, and there was not much dispute about the rest, so they managed to work out these details.
It was established that she would be the one cooking, so there was nothing to worry about.
On the day after it was decided, Mahiru arrived early with a grocery bag in hand, or rather, two hands as she prepared to cook.
“…It really is new and unused…”
A girl was dressed in an apron, standing in his house. Amane was practically living in a man’s romance, but for some reason, he was on tenterhooks.
One reason was that he was not used to that sight of Mahiru with a ponytail. The main reason however was that she pointed out that the kitchen was unused.
“You have so many good things here, and you let them rust away.”
“They won’t rust when you use them, right?”
“That will be the outcome. These utensils are crying from being unused.”
“So use your cooking skills to get them to stop crying.”
I can’t do that, so he bluntly admitted, and she gave him a dumbfounded look. She might have expected that however, for she merely sighed and did not grumble much.
“So do you have any seasoning lying around?”
“Of course, you think I’m an idiot? No issues with storage and expiry here.”
“Oh that is surprising.”
“They’re still sealed, that’s why.”
Most of the seasonings remained sealed in a cool, dark place, so he probably did not need to worry about that.
He bought them, but he never had the chance to use them. In fact, Amane never once touched them since he never actually used the kitchen. Truth be told, the seasonings were in good hands given that someone like Mahiru would be cooking.
“That is not something to be proud about. If there is insufficient, I can just go back to take them.”
“Thanks for the assist.”
“I should be able to cook something with the basic seasonings. Ah, I decided on the menu myself. That is fine with you, right?”
“I don’t really get all these things, so I’ll eat whatever there is. I’m not that picky either.”
“I see. I shall get started then…please tell me where the seasonings are.”
“In this basket.”
“They really are unopened…”
She glanced aside at the seasonings, and frowned in bewilderment, but she quickly reverted back to her usual expression as Amane had briefed her beforehand, and she went to the faucet to wash her hands.
“I shall get down to cook. You can wait in the living room or the bedroom.”
“Sure. I’m useless here anyway.”
“That was really honest from you. But it is true that I will find it difficult to cook with you walking around.”
“You’re pretty blunt yourself.”
“That is a fact though. I have no need to be discreet about that.”
As Mahiru had said, Amane would only be a hindrance, so he went straight to the living room, and watched her from behind as she cooked.
After she washed her hands, Mahiru hurriedly got down to seasoning.
He did not know what she was about to make, but looking at the ingredients, it was probably a Japanese dish.
He was incredulous that he could invite Mahiru to his house to cook those delicious dishes, and wondered if he was dreaming. Once he saw her hair swaying in a ponytail however, he knew it was reality.
…Why does it feel like I have a wife?
They did not have such feelings for each other, but the current situation seemed that she had made this place her home, and he could only imagine so.
He truly did not have an inkling of interest in Mahiru, but with such a pretty girl cooking in his house, the situation would have caused his thoughts to run wild.
As expected, whether he had feelings for her or not, the sight of a cute girl being willing to cook for him caused his heart to throb a little.
“…You are not thinking of something weird now, are you?”
“Don’t make any wild guesses.”
She asked without looking back, and his face twitched as a result, but as she did not look back, his ruse was not blown.
She’s a sharp one, so he marveled, a shiver ran up his spine as his still innocent heart of a man watched her from behind.